As we start the New Year, here are a few suggestions for resolutions to help eliminate foodborne illness from you and your families' lives. While you cannot eliminate all risks, following these steps will help prevent foodborne illness.
Clean: Resolve to wash your hands before, during and after handling food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing has the potential to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention. CSU Extension Agent Kaye Kasza reminds people, "Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make lather and scrub them well for at least 20 seconds. Air dry or use a clean paper towel."
Separate: If you only have one cutting board, resolve to get another to help avoid cross-contamination. Use one for foods you cook, such as meat, poultry, and seafood, and the other for foods like fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw. This keeps the raw foods from being contaminated by the juices from the foods to be cooked. If you get a new cutting board, get one that's dishwasher-safe. The very hot water and strong detergent typically used in dishwashers can eliminate many bacteria.
Cook: Resolve to get a food thermometer if you don't have one. Using a food thermometer is the only way to make sure meat, poultry, fish, and casseroles are cooked to a safe internal temperature hot enough to kill any pathogens that may be present.
Chill: Resolve to get an appliance thermometer to be sure your refrigerator is at or below 40 F. Between 40 F and 140 F is the Danger Zone where bacteria multiply rapidly. The more bacteria, the more likely someone will get sick. Most refrigerators have just a colder/warmer adjustment, so the only way to know the temperature is to put a thermometer inside. And it's a good idea to put one in the freezer to be sure the temperature is 0 F or below.
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